21 April 2013 | Subic Bay
It ain’t all starlit nights, phosphorescence, and the rolling sea.
We have been noticing the smell of diesel and Stanodyne, an additive to improve the function of fuel injectors, (quite stinky), since we have been in Subic. We though it might be due to a small spill of Stanodyne in the pilot house underseat hatches. My mom had an especially sensitive nose during our family boating years and used to exclaim, “fumes!!!” when she smelled something amiss. My father would invariably ignore ignore her sensitive nose ("don't be ridiculous"), but she was almost always spot on as eventually a small fuel leak or patch of dry rot would be discovered. As you might imagine, all 4 of us guys tried to ignore it or at least blame it on the several drops of Stanodyne which leaked in the pilot house. Imagine our surprise when we opened the hatches and found at least 5 gallons of diesel on top of the tanks, leaking under the galley floor carpet and dripping into the engine room bilge. We have pumped the diesel into empty jugs and are in the process of localizing the source. Although greasy of hands and dizzy of head, we try to console each other with several points:
1. The spill was contained on the boat did not get pumped into the marina
2. If something like this has to be discovered, it is better at port where we can take care of it, rather that far out to sea
3. Diesel is not explosive and not very flammable. Were this gasoline, it would be a huge risk. No smoking in the bilge, nonetheless!
4. Our mouse must have found the fumes too objectionable and has jumped ship.
However, with our carpet rolled up, furniture moved out, and hatches open, filled with diesel soaking rags and hand pumps, it is definitely not mood elevating.
It looks as though the culprit may be an inspection hatch that we removed in Hong Kong to clean out an algae infestation in the tank which grows in a diesel water interface. It appears that the material we used for seal the gasket when we closed the bolted tank cover has reacted with the fuel and may have lost its integrity. A relatively full tank combined with the rolling of our sea crossing may have caused the leak. We will look at every connection of hoses and pipes to make sure nothing else is responsible.
Other work involves finding and installing ventilation fans for the fridge compressor which is running warm, installing a one way valve on the mid bilge pump outflow hose which has been letting water into the bilge in a backwards direction when a big wave laps against the through hull fitting, modify the cover for the dinghy and check a split pin at the top of the mast which holds the mainsail furler and the running backstays. A bit more shopping and we will be back underway which we are all looking forward to. Subic is nice and friendly but crowded and hot.
Would much rather be writing about the exciting things we are experiencing but I guess this is all part of boat ownership and a reparable situation.